Mike Tirico isn’t trying to be Black. Here’s a picture:
Yup. That guy right there is not about the Black label, or apparently any labels at all. In an interview with the New York Times, he had the following to say about race:
“Why do I have to check any box? If we live in a world where we’re not supposed to judge, why should anyone care about identifying?” He continued, “The race question in America is one that probably never produces a satisfactory answer for those who are asking the questions.”
In a conversation back in 1991 with the Post-Standard, via Bar Tool Sports, Tirico had similar race struggles. He said both his parents are White and his upbringing was with an Italian family in Queens. This is how he told it:
“When people go around and say, ‘You are Black’— well, I don’t encourage it, but by the same token I don’t back off of it. If you want to call me that, that’s fine. But, you know, in my whole family, there’s nobody I know who is Black.”
He goes on to say that he’s seen photos of his father, his father’s mother, and his father’s sisters and they’re all White — the same with his mom’s side of the family. “They are all as White as the refrigerator I’m standing in front of right now,” Tirico explained. In the article, he said he would like to do a genealogical study one day to see if he had Black ancestors, but he wasn’t pressed about it. “Does it matter to me? Yeah, I’d like to find out the truth at some point, so I can answer questions for my kids,” he said. “But me? I’m living, I’m working, I’m leading an upstanding life. I don’t worry about it.”
A lot of the Internet’s reaction to Tirico’s race beliefs can be summed up in one tweet. Channeling Jay-Z‘s use of O.J. Simpson‘s line, “I’m not Black, I’m O.J.,” one user posted:
There you have it.